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Caffeinated Coder A Grande, Triple Shot, Non-Fat Core Dump by Russell Ball

I listened to an interesting prodcast on Channel 9 on my way to work this morning. I never had an inclination to listen to the MicroISV show before, but the title intrigued me: CrazyBusy - Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD".

Multi-tasking has never been a strength of mine so I may be biased, but I definitely agree with his premise of the show that the frenetic pace that most of us sustain these days due to new technologies such as cell phone, PDA's, and the internet is actually causing us to get less done. I view it as similar to the issues faced when doing multi-threading in programming. When used judiciously, multi-threading can dramatically increased the perceived speed and responsiveness of the application. However, if you go crazy with the number of threads that you use, the app will actually slow down to a crawl because it is spending all of its allotted slice of time just to reload the required data in memory and by the time that happens there is barely any time left to do any work before having to release control to another thread. It's the same way with life, it may look like someone is getting a lot done when they are juggling dozens of projects at once, but it has been my experience that in reality the overall speed and quality decreases dramatically.

So how do you stop the madness? As for myself, I think I'm going to start with my email habits. This tends to be the single biggest interrupter during my day since I usually drop everything whenever I notice an email pop-up notification, even if it is just to read and delete it. I think I'm going to force myself to actually close Outlook and only check it on an hourly basis instead. The vast majority of time someone will talk to me in person or call me if they need something answered right away, so I might as well take advantage of the asynchronous nature of email and just ignore them until I am at a natural stopping point in my work. I'm also going to try to decrease the number of active projects that I have going on at any point in time as well as the number of technical topics that I explore. I've had a nagging feeling for a while that my understanding of topics is becoming more and more superficial and now I feel certain of it. Perhaps, I'll even try to narrow the number of blogs that I track...nah....

[Wednesday, June 13, 2007 5:20 PM]

Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 10:08 PM Becoming A Better Developer | Back to top


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